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Take back control over the clock: time management strategies for the workplace

Posted Jun 02 2009 8:32pm
Take back control over the clock: time management strategies for the workplace.

By Kristi Daniels

Work-Life Balance Examiner

Ever peer at the clock striking 5 pm, only to wonder where your day went and recognize you still have a half dozen tasks on your "to-do" list? Do competing demands of your boss, colleagues, clients, urgent phone calls and e-mails and impromptu staff meetings throw your schedule off and you just can't accomplish what you planned for the day?

Take stock of some proven time management strategies from leaders in the field:

  • Eat that frog! Professional management and leadership guru Brian Tracy suggests you start your day by eating that frog. That means take the most important item on your to-do list - no matter how big or how small - and put a dent in it. That's the one project that is "very important" and "very urgent." As soon as you get into work in the morning - determine how much time you have before your first meeting or conference call - and block off time to make progress on that task. If it's a huge task, such as completing a 20-page report, then decide what steps you can take to make a dent in the task - draft an outline, collect your data or just begin to write. If it's an important, perhaps difficult conversation you need to have - then make it. By taking action first thing in the morning on a priority task, you'll achieve a sense of accomplishment right away, even if the rest of your day escapes you.


  • Get your to-dos out of your head.   Best-selling author David Allen suggests you find a time management system to organize all of your tasks. An organizer, a calendar or even a notebook - get all of the tasks in your head onto paper, and then figure out how to organize it. Do you ever remember your grocery list in the shower, but draw blanks when you're in the grocery store? Create "buckets" for your to-dos: work assignments, phone calls or emails to make, errands to run, your grocery list, etc. Allen says that "every open loop must be in your collection system and out of your head," so you can create more space for productivity and getting things done. He also recommends having as few collection buckets as you can get by with, and emptying them regularly.


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